Unraveling the Complexity: Is it Inherent or Self-Inflicted?
These are the questions that have lingered within our team at the culmination of more than one campaign. There were times when the team was in turmoil right from the start of the campaign:
- What comes next?
- What were our intended outcomes?
- When did these crucial discussions take place?
Navigating the intersection of industry standards (Technology; Software-as-a-Service) and B2B transactions often presents challenges. In this article, we won’t attempt an exhaustive exploration of all the intricacies. Instead, we’ll spotlight key elements that commonly contribute to the problem and share solutions based on our experiences.
Overcomplicated Marketing Plans and Strategies
Let’s delve into marketing strategy and plans—their roles encompass:
- Setting goals for a specific period.
- Describing and justifying tool and tactic choices.
- Specifying marketing channels.
- Defining the interrelationships between these elements.
Complicating matters severs the connections between the plan, strategy, tactics, and tools, transforming marketing activities into isolated events. They are no longer part of a process. Failures and successes are processes. They do not happen because of events that we treat as isolated points in time.
Things get too complicated when you:
- Go into too much detail. Some things are worked out at work.
- Plan too many activities. Get a realistic idea of how much time each task costs you.
- Don’t have a theme. The plan and strategy tell a story. You need a basic storyline.
Start with aligning goals, plans, and strategies with your target market.
What do you want to achieve?
How do you plan to do it?
And how did you match the two things with your target audience?
Work backward from revenue to synchronize marketing tactics with your growth objectives.
Consider the lifecycle of a marketing process and activity
Imagine you’ve meticulously organized a virtual conference in the first quarter of the year. For several months, you’ve put in the work to bring in representatives from companies identified as potential partners and customers. You’ve secured outstanding speakers and crafted an impressive program.
Failure to consider the lifecycle of a marketing activity might impede achieving set goals or introduce inconsistency in the year’s plan and strategy.
Consider how even after the “formal” execution of the campaign, you can capitalize on it. Think:
- How will you continue distributing marketing collateral?
- How can the campaign’s contribution be leveraged to achieve goals in the upcoming period?
- How do you align current campaign messages with the next ones planned?
The last question ties back to the overarching theme of your marketing strategy. It’s crucial to keep the big picture in mind and see how individual elements of the strategy fit together.
Treat Your Audience Like A Turkey Focaccia Sandwich
Picture yourself savoring a Turkey Focaccia Club sandwich.
You cut the focaccia in half, spread it with a delectable mayonnaise mixture (mayonnaise, whole-berry cranberry sauce, chopped pecans, Dijon mustard, and honey), and layer lettuce, turkey, cheese, tomato, and bacon between the halves.
Now, imagine eating the same sandwich, but with ingredients on separate plates. You must navigate with a spoonful of the mayo mixture, turkey ham, and cheese on separate plates, slicing tomatoes on a cutting board.
How would this impact your experience of biting into the whole sandwich? The mingling textures and intertwining flavors – lost.
This analogy holds for profiling your target audience.
Imagine segregating demographics, professional characteristics, and behavioral data separately. It’s impossible to capture the multidimensionality of the ideal customer profile (ICP).
Personal characteristics (age, gender, country) hint at the beliefs of a person with such a profile. Professional characteristics guide us to the main problems and needs of the persona. Behavioral data validates hypotheses about the ideal customer profile.
Understanding your target audience isn’t enough; delve into the specifics of your target industries.
Reason #1 – the same reason you eat your sandwich assembled.
Reason #2 – a validated ideal customer profile reveals nuances in preferences, problems, and goals when viewed through the lens of a specific industry.
While market research and interviews with people fitting your ICP are beneficial, they can be expensive and involve many team members. A better approach is to start with available data. Refer to existing customers and companies in negotiations. They will reveal to you your strengths that won them over and why they chose you over competitors.
Pay attention to qualified accounts that haven’t converted. They may have asked for a custom quote, participated in a live demo, or turned down the deal, offering insights into market demands and lost opportunities. Lost deals highlight weaknesses in the sales process or indicate which type of customer is not for you. Of course, the influence of other factors is also evident from them – price, payment method, and preferred providers.
Rely on your customer support, project management, and RnD team. They are the ones who first look at the Requests for Proposal (RFP) and evaluate how your product meets the customer’s demands. They know the workflows of companies from various industries and have (at least a general) idea of the bottlenecks they are experiencing and the business processes they want to optimize.
Lastly, participate in public and private auctions, presenting opportunities to reach a target audience actively seeking specific software solutions. Use auctions to showcase your SaaS solutions, observe market demands, and gain insights into competitors, refining your product positioning and uncovering distinctive features.
Auctions offer an opportunity to analyze the competition as well. You can gain insight into the solutions of other companies in your industry, thereby improving your product positioning and discovering your distinctive features.
Sales and Marketing Funnel Optimization
Engineer your Sales and Marketing to ensure that every lead that gets inside is directed to one of the pre-specified final destinations. Remember, though, each person embarks on a unique journey.
A common pitfall is assuming everyone is headed in the same direction. Given that not all leads will convert into buyers, it’s crucial to consider alternative conversion goals.
Failing to prioritize leads results in investing time and money in deals with no return. Some will convert, some early on, and some may never make a purchase.
The starting point for effective funnel optimization lies in traffic acquisition analysis and buyer persona profiling. These serve as the foundation for traffic segmentation. Creating cohorts enables the tailoring of content that guides leads from a general interest to a specific journey. This, in turn, allows you to address varying levels of engagement, fostering more consistent interaction and stronger connections with your leads.
Such an adapted experience provides the opportunity to gradually guide leads toward more significant actions, aligning with their specific engagement level.
Implementing a lead scoring model establishes criteria for prioritizing leads, and determining which ones warrant your time and attention. Continue nurturing leads based on these scoring criteria, offering tailored content and engagement opportunities aligned with their respective scores.
Navigating The B2B Marketing Landscape With Clarity & Vision
At the end of the material, we dare to say that things are as complicated as you make them. A small part of the most mentioned terms in B2B marketing for the past year are Account-Based Marketing, Demand Gen, Marketing-Source Pipeline, alignment, and AI automation.
You will always know where “North” is if you maintain a clear vision of your business core and market offering. This becomes possible when you take the time, especially at the beginning of each year, to review the evolution of your corporate brand. This encompasses your value system, beliefs, long-term goals, the overarching North Star goal driving your endeavors, and, crucially, your mission. These elements serve as the compass that ignites inspiration for you and your team, especially during challenging times that might feel like a battlefield.